Tag Archives: Beardown

Beating Vegas: Beardown

Green Bay Packers +5.5 at Chicago Bears

As a die hard Chicago Bears fan, I entered this season with very minimal hopes and realistic expectations.  At the mid-point of this season, all isn’t awful for the Bears, but they sure do have a lot more work to do.  Currently the Bears offense is – predictable, to say the least.  With rookie quarterback Mitchell Trubisky being handcuffed by play-calling and a lack of options to throw the ball to, the Bears are attacking via the rushing game. Running back Jordan Howard is third in the NFL in total carries (behind Zeke Elliot and LeVeon Bell) and is fifth in the NFL in rushing yards (662).  He is the bell cow for this offense and with Mitchell Trubisky throwing for less than 50% of his completions, expect this trend to continue.  The strength of this Bears team lies in their top ten defense.  This is a great thing for fans of the Bears to see as they know the key to any success this franchise has ever had – stems from a strong defense.  This week the Monsters of the Midway face their hated rival, the Green Bay Packers.  Quarterback Brett Hundley has been more underwhelming than Trubisky and although his completion percentage is 1.2 points below sixty-percent – don’t be fooled.  He’s averaging five yards a pass and has a touchdown/interception ratio of 1:4.  Yikes.  Defensively, the Packers are allowing 357 yards a game, which puts them in the bottom twenty-five percent of the NFL.  Both teams will run very vanilla offenses, the Bears may try to open things up more than the Packers actually.  Regardless, this is the first time since 2008 that the Bears are actually favored to win over the Packers.  Five and half points (with the trending arrow moving upwards) is just a weird number, but 38 as the over and under is a good one.  This game will see a lot of three and outs and a lot of kicks.  Bears may pull it off, modestly.

The Pick: The Under 38.5

Houston Texans +11 at Los Angeles Rams

One thing we all can agree on is this:  The Houston Texans are pathetic without Deshaun Watson under center.  The Texans options are quarterback are Tom Savage, who’s awful; Josh Johnson, who we vaguely remember as awful and TJ Yates, who is “eh.” It’s not even about the Texans losing their quarterback, the whole organization seems to have lost any inspiration, and that is not ALL on coach Bill O’ Brien.  O’Brien is in the middle of a firestorm that involves his players not being happy with remarks made by the team’s owner.  This is the total opposite of what’s going on in L.A. with the Rams.  For years, the Rams have pretty much been a door-mat in the NFL.  First year coach Sean McVay has transformed this team into the league’s number one scoring offense, averaging 32.9 points per contest.  Houston’s defense may struggle with the Rams’ aerial attack and their run defense will get their best challenge of the season going up against running back Todd Gurley.  Gurley has the fourth most rushing yards in the NFL with 686.  The total balance on offense will be too much for Houston to keep up with for four quarters especially because the Texans offense will most likely throw up uneventful three-and-out drives and turn over the ball at least twice.

The Pick: Rams -11

New Orleans Saints -3 at Buffalo Bills

Buffalo at home is always a tough sell on the sharpest of betters.  The weather is miserable and visiting teams are bored because there is nothing to do there.  This year’s Bills team is in the middle of the debate of “contenders or pretenders” especially after getting smacked up by the Jets on national television last week.  The Bills don’t run the ball exceptionally well but they also don’t throw the ball exceptionally well – but they force the issue with the run as their 250 attempts, with an average of 3.7 yards a carry, prove.  NFL pundits have been drooling over the defense of the New Orleans Saints, saying that this defense is the reason why they have a record of 6-2.  When you look at the numbers though, you ask yourself: Really?  A defense that gives up 4.7 yards a rush and a completion percentage of 60% sounds pretty average. . .even to some below-average. For the Saints though, it’s all about one defensive stat: Points Per Game.  This defense is only allowing teams to average 19 points per contest which goes really well when you have an offense that is constructed so perfectly.  Head coach Sean Payton has leaned on a two-running-back attack where Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram are relied on heavily throughout the game.  The Saints have an offense that is top ten in rushing and passing and going against the Bills defense on the road will be one of their tougher test this year.  A final score of 27-18 is totally believable in the favor of the Saints.

The Pick: Saints -3

Good Luck and Wager Wisely

G.W. Gras

Twitter @GeeSteelio

 

Analyzing the Bears Draft

Now that we’ve had time to let it all sink in maybe we can just be real.  Maybe now we can speak realistically in terms of expectations that come with the Chicago Bears’ 2016 rookie class.   Do we really have future stars?  Did we really come away with a steal in the draft?  Truth is, only time will tell.

Chicago Bears first-round draft pick Leonard Floyd poses for a photo, after taking questions from reporters at Halas Hall, Friday April 29, 2016. He said he s very happy he landed with the bears, who have a great defensive history. (Tribune photo/Abel Uribe)

First Round Pick – Leonard Floyd OLB, Georiga

Personally, this is the guy I wanted the Bears to take and they jumped a spot ahead of the New York Giants to do it.  At 6’6″ and 244 pounds, Bears fans are hoping for something along the lines of Aldon Smith, without all the mental baggage.   In the Bears 3-4 scheme, it would be expected for defensive coordinator Vic Fangio to place Floyd, all over the field and exploit his athleticism as a straight-pass-rusher.  He gets a little lost when he drops back into zone coverage which might be a concern early, unless he picks up the NFL’s speed at a fast rate.  Regardless, he’s quick enough to recover and will be a disturbance to the oppositions outside rush attacks.  A lot of people are judging Floyd because of his size – or lack thereof – but in truth, that will either come in time, or his lack of bulk will actually become a positive in the long run.  The NFL has become a faster place, which is why Lloyd is a perfect hybrid-type of player for the Bears to have in this defense moving forward.

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Second Round – Cody Whitehair G, Kansas State

Let’s all be honest, although Whitehair is a need and will probably be a starter from day one, let’s not forget – he’s our consolation prize.  The Bears were hoping to land Indiana tackle, Jason Spriggs but the Green Bay Packers (like the snakes we know they are) jumped ahead of us and took him.  This action left us to go with the next best man on the offensive line list  which happened to be Cody Whitehair.  Whitehair is an instinctive linemen who was able to give his quarterback, Luke Falk, a lot of time in their pass heavy attack. With Grasu at center, Kyle Long at right guard and Whitehair at left guard (although he played tackle in Washington State) – the Bears might have the nucleus of their offensive line set for years to come.

Third Round – Jonathan Bullard DE, Florida

Another instinctive player, but this one is on the defensive side of the ball.   Lance Zierlin of NFL.com had him going in the second round of the draft, so right there shows value in this pick.  He’s another “lack of size” guy, but the Bears are getting what they want in this defense – athleticism and speed.  The Florida Gators have had one of the most blue-collar and grittier defenses over the last three years and it’s because of players like Bullard.  He was a sure tackler in college and should really find his way nicely.

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Fourth Round – Nick Kwiatkoski ILB,  West Virginia

Here is one of those “depth-guy” picks.  It’s not a knock on Kwiatkoski – just don’t expect him to be Mike Singletary out there. He’s a tough kid, with a nose for the ball.  He converted from safety to linebacker successfully in school and was a leader on the field.  The issue with Kwiatkoski is that he is used to just knocking guys down and not really wrapping them up and he’ll surely get gobbled up by offensive linemen more than we’ll ever see him run through them.

Fourth Round -Deiondre’ Hall, CB/FS, Northern Iowa

This was another one of those guys I really was glad to see the Bears get.  Hall has freakishly long arms at his position (34″ arms to go with his 9.5″ sized hands) and standing at 6’2″ it only adds to his full extension when he leaps.  He doesn’t have the speed or technique to become a number one or number two corner in the league and although his frame is a bit under what one would want a safety to be – his skill set is a better fit for the position.  He’s a physical player who will be a starter in this league.  To get him in the fourth round is a steal.  He’ll be the one to keep your eyes on this year.  . .

Fifth Round – Jordan Howard, RB, Indiana

He has a pretty boring name and comes from a pretty boring program, but Howard is a strong north-south rusher who you could argue – was one of the top five backs in this year’s draft.  Of course we all know running backs are not valued like they once were, but Bears coach John Fox is known to use the running game to open things up and he is also known for mix and matching his backs.  Howard was able to put up big numbers against stout competition, but he also ran behind a pretty good offensive line in college.

Sixth Round -Deiondre Houston-Carson, FS , William & Mary

I wont even pretend as if I know anything about anybody from William & Mary, but it looks like he converted from corner back to free safety and was a beast playing both positions at the FCS level.  When it comes to these small school athletes it’s just hard to gauge  how good they’ll become based on their level of competition in college.

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7th Round – Daniel Braverman, WR, Western Michigan

Last season, the Western Michigan Broncos  were  a program that put up points in bunches.  Braverman added to that with his 108 catches and over 1300 receiving yards.  The comparisons to Julian Edelman and Wes Welker have been made hundreds of times and it’s because at 5’10” and 175 pounds, the only thing he can be is a slot receiver.  Then again, Braverman proved while in college he’ll line up just about anywhere.  He has great hands, always looking to gain yards after the catch and has great footwork.  He will definitely push guys like Eddie Royal and Marquis Wilson when it comes to getting that slot position locked down – he’s also a pretty good special teams player – so Marc Mariani’s days in Chicago may be coming to an end soon.

Undrafted: Ben Braunecker, TE, Harvard

This was an intriguing signing after the draft.  Braunecker was rated by the Wall Street Journal as the best player at the NFL combine.  He destroyed the Ivy league, but that’s because he’s the biggest guy standing in a room with a  bunch of lawyers – let’s be honest.  Still though, he shows great abilities as a pass catching tight end and if we look at the tight end depth chart on the Bears it reads something like Zach Miller, Khari Lee and Rob Housler.  Although Miller showed flashes last year, to just think that’ll be him week in and week out is insanity.  Braunecker is obviously smart enough to understand an NFL playbook and it shouldn’t surprise anybody to see him make the 53 man roster this year.

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This Bears draft was intriguing.  They did away with the “traditionalist” way of football thinking and decided to go for athletes they could plug in their positions of need.  It’s clear that general manager Ryan Pace and head coach John Fox have a plan and they’re sticking to it.  This is a draft class  Bears fans should be excited about.

G.W. Gras

twitter @GeeSteelio